What to Do If Your Overwhelmed with Getting the Raw Food Diet Right? (Or Any Diet!)

Friday Sep 2 | BY |
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raw food diet overwhelm
Strange how as a kid, I never seemed to feel to overwhelmed… what happened? (In the pic, Frankie and Malakai blowing out a candle.)

When you’re learning something new, there usually is a learning curve…

During this process whether you’re starting a new job or figuring out how to use your brother-in-law’s TV remote, there is excitement, energy, disappointment, frustration, overwhelm, and hundreds of other emotions that you’ll experience during the process.

Starting a new diet or healthy lifestyle is no different.

Today, I have a question from Kenny that asks about how to deal with the overwhelm of being a fresh new sprout in the raw food world. (This actually applies to all diets.)

Here’s what Kenny writes:

I need some kind of a guide to make a bigger step towards the raw world. what im saying is, i would like to at least cover breakfast and lunch with some snacks in between strictly raw if not out traveling. do you guys have an easy to understand recipe book that would help or what do you suggest? i don’t want to do smoothies everyday of the week and don’t just want to eat plain veges and fruit so looking for ways to make it interesting. by the way, im usually hungry all the time and can eat tons of food. losing weight and getting trim is the biggest goal of mine right now. do you guys have any kind of counseling sessions? i need help and totally overwhelmed with this world of raw food.

Hey Kenny, no need to be overwhelmed!

We don’t do counseling sessions, but I can help you out here.

The first thing that I’d say to you if we were meeting one-on-one is that I don’t think you’re ready to be a client in your current mindset.

I know this sounds direct, so I have to explain.

What I read from what you’re saying here is that you want to do the raw food diet, you want to lose weight, but you’re already putting limitations on what you will and will not do – you don’t want to have smoothies, you don’t want to eat plain vegetables and fruits.

This doesn’t mean you can’t succeed on the diet or that I’d never help you, it just means that before I’d work with you in a long term capacity, I’d ask you to, first, prioritize your goals and, second, teach you that if you want to have success you have to do things that you don’t want to do.

In fact, much of our failure comes from our inability to overcome the discomfort that comes with doing difficult things – the discomfort then, usually, leads us to not doing the thing that is hard to do. Not doing the thing doesn’t move us forward and this leaves us exactly where we were before.

So what I want to point out is that there is a serious incongruity between wanting to lose weight on the raw food diet (or any diet) and not wanting to eat plain fruits and vegetables. The raw food diet revolves around them – actually let me rephrase that, a successful raw food diet revolves around them.

Any long term success in the raw food diet does require these things. All the other gourmet things are fine in moderation (or maybe even less than moderation) but they don’t form an adequate basis for any diet – let alone the raw food diet.

So prioritize and break down your stopping points first, then the next step to overcome overwhelm is to simplify.

Alright, enough of the tough love, now on to the next steps…

A lot of people fail on a high raw food diet because they jump right into it and expect to be good at it. Unfortunately after many thousands of years removed from eating naturally, humans find it hard to get back to this way in just a few short weeks – or even months. So the best way to go about it, just like if you were dating someone new, is one step at a time.

The best way to start slow and gain momentum is by making a green smoothie every day and the best way to incorporate this into your diet is to replace your breakfast with it. Any smoothie with your favorite fruits and 2-3 big handfuls of greens will do and is a catalyst to diving deeper into the raw food diet. Plus, as a side benefit, it will help you lose weight, get more energy, and feel better without you really focusing on those goals.

As for recipe books, I like the recipes by Cherie Soria and Ani Phyo because they tend to be more simple than complicated. You can also get “The Complete Book of Raw Food” which is a nice collection of about 350 recipes that you can experiment with and pick a recipe once or twice a week to try.

I hope this helps! Please let us all know about your progress…

I want to know your thoughts: What advice do you have for raw food diet overwhelm (or any diet overwhelm?)

**
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Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog RenegadeHealth.com — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.

13 COMMENTS ON THIS POST

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  1. LynnCS says:

    For Kenny. I can only imagine. I have been a vegitarian for a long time and mostly vegan a while too, so when I found the Raw food diet, I was curious and jumped on the internet to find out how to do it. I guess that being interested in the vegi life brought me to it a little easier. Everyone says if you do one thing and let the rest be imperfect, it would be to drop animal products. That is a big step alone, if you are coming from the SAD diet. Even though I was a vegigarian, I was adding to bad health habits by cooking with high heat to brown and carmelize vegis, and grains. So it is not a simple change to make, especially if you have some resistance. I take a piece of fruit where ever I go. I can’t take the chance of being gone a long time. One of the best things I am doing is drinking a lot more water than before. It is a big part now of my healthy habits. I have about 60 lbs to go. I am finally convinced that I don’t have to weigh myself all the time…just eat all the vegis I want and a lot of fruit. Good luck, hang in there.

  2. michael westrick says:

    Eat your favorite fruit 1 hour before each meal….that is a start and many people loose wait this way…..There has to be some kinf of fruit out there out of the thousands…..Baby steps are best from what I have seen out there over the last 12 years…..Best of luck on your new adventure…..

  3. Kurt says:

    For Kenny, my story might be instructive. About 10 years ago I decided to find a diet that was more healthful than SAD so I looked around on the Web. I found Loren Cordain’s thepaleodiet.com, read it, liked his analysis of what, why, and how, and bought and read his book. I started by making dinner salads (I’m not a cook) and immediately I lost four pounds the first week. That’s a typical result, but for scrawny me it was terrible. The solution to that problem was to re-balance to get more calories and add spices to encourage more eating. Since then I’ve added and subtracted ingredients, experimented with (to get more calories) and dropped oatmeal (to avoid grains), started monitoring pH and dropping juices, tweaking the fruit balance, and changing the fats (more saturated). The diet still works for me and I still mostly eat dinner salads.

    I recommend you should spend some time more reading and then start with whatever makes most sense and whatever you can do simply. Then, most important: figure out how to make it work for you.

  4. Lorien says:

    Hi Kenny, One thing I would ask is why the interest in raw? Is it just to loose weight and feel better? I’d say on an average day 90% of what I eat is raw. I eat meat a few times a month, I eat eggs every day, I have a small amount of raw dairy daily (very small)& the rest is plants. No reason other then that’s what I like. I don’t eat grain much, maybe once a week or less at the moment but all this has evolved over time and may change as I grow and learn more about what my body needs.

    One of my pleasures in life is the study of what humans should/not eat; what folks think about this issue & why they think it. I read everything from die hard meat eaters to die hard raw vegans. I have been at this for awhile now & I have only found one thing that they all agree on. If you want to improve your health, reduce your weight, live longer & have a high quality of life in those exta years: eliminate processed food from your diet.

    If you are sick, then raw is the best way to heal. But get some support from someone who knows what they are doing. If you are well then go slow, add more salads, fruit, nuts and veges to the menu and cut out the processed food. That step is perhaps the hardest but will do the most good.

    I went from 280 pounds (I’m 5’6″)to 145 lbs as I made changes. I’d take some off, put some back on and take it off again, never going back as high and always going lower still each time I’d make a new change. If your primary purpose is to loose weight; if it comes in a bag (unless it’s sugar free frozen fruit or plain frozen vegetables – ffrys don’t count), in a box, or in a can don’t eat it. As your body adjusts to real food it will tell you what you need if you keep trying new things. Your tastes will change as your needs change.

    I lost my first hundred pounds eating any kind of meat but pork, any kind of fruit but oranges, any vegetable, eggs & brown rice. I could use olive oil, coconut oil, almond oil or apricot oil, any spice or herb & salt. The next time I lost a hundred pounds it was by going totally raw. I think the key to both was no processed food of any kind. I ate all I wanted on both, I still eat all I want as a matter of fact & am maintaining my current weight with ease. And yes, I indulge a few times a month if I feel like it. I did on both diets as well. Sometimes you just gotta have an icecream or a sack of tortilla chips. At least I do. Perhaps someday that will change. I also have a beer or glass of wine a few times a week & coffee is a staple. I also decided I was never going to be one of those folks who put food above relationships. So no matter how I’m eating, if I go to a friends for dinner, I eat what they provide with joy & thankfulness. If I am out to dinner with friends, I make the best choice I can & enjoy the choice I make.

    Give your body real food and it will right itself. Enjoy what you eat and feel how your body responds. Make changes and see what happens. There is not one right way for a basiclly healthy person to lose weight or just feel better. If you are eating real food and have gone through the icky notreallyfood detox phase, you will crave what you need. Listen to your body.

  5. laura says:

    start with your way of eating as 50% raw…only fruit or green smoothies at breakfast…have a big salad somewhere in the day…try juicing…some sprouts…Raw Food Made Easy For 1 to 2 People by Jennifer Cornbleet is one of the simplest books out there with quick/easy recipes…eliminate soda,junk food,alcohol,white foods…and the weight will come off…like anything else it gets easier the more you practice…another very simple book is FOOD RULES by Michael Pollan..each page only has a few sentences on it..he’s not vegan or raw but very wise…

  6. Velda says:

    Some really great words of help from the readers. There is truth in all of them. Perhaps Kenny nees to figure out what his priority is – or goal. Is it to be healthy? To me that would be at the top of the list. Then begin to learn about the body and it’s relationship to food. Like the other people that commented said, “cut out processed food”. Find out what food does for your body and look at it as a medicine. I have found it very interesting to learn and put into practice. Although I don’t put it into practice 100% of the time, I am healthier at 64 that I was at 44. As you age, it is really nice to know that you are not deteriorating as rapidly as you thought you would 🙂 As you begin to put some of the things you learn into practice, you will be delighted at how you feel, and then even more delight at how you look.

    Thanks for the great article, Kevin.

  7. Shu Han says:

    Kevin, great article, but Lorien, you pretty much summed it up for me. Love food and your body, and in doing so, you’ll see no reason to put food that’s not real into your body. And never get too anal about it, the stress does you in more than the food. I’m not a raw vegan, nor am i a paleo meat fan, but I appreciate that both call for unprocessed foods, prepared by yourself with love (:

  8. Elly says:

    1) Love and Care for yourself, and your family – feed everyone, love everyone, and make time for all
    2) Give yourself, and everyone else, ‘a break’ – we morph to raw from SAD on a moment by moment basis, and it takes a while to find yummy substitutes… And when you find them..SHARE THEM!!!
    3) Even reducing the amount of cooked food / increasing the raw .. will have Tremendous benefits – no need to judge yourself. Just one step at a time.
    4) Have FUN!!! Find great things to do each day. Pack some fresh fruit and vegs for snack, and eat them first.
    5) Eat REAL food – even if it isn’t raw food, just eat REAL grocery store products (i.e. not packaged, not precooked, pasturized………)

  9. Candice says:

    Great advice from Kevin & company. I would only add to KEEP LEARNING. The more you know about the benefits of green smoothies and green juices, and other raw vegan foods, the more you’ll be willing to integrate them into your diet.

    Good luck!

  10. mary says:

    I notice that at times goods, (fruits and veg) cause diahrea. I have to keep them fairly low. I do know that they are good for me, but on the way to the library there are problems at times, or way home. Most of them are raw but even cooked sweet potatoes and or carrots cooked or raw will cause this. Since I am getting macular degeneration I need them. any help besides ripe banana

  11. nina says:

    First of all, keep it simple! Simple as that – the more simple, the better – especially in th4e beginning.
    Keep reading/learning.
    Keep asking questions.
    Even Victoria Boutenko say – keep it simple.
    (Her book is great, by the way) I’m on my third reading of it, and I’m still picking up new info with each reading.
    Keep it simple – take your time – it will work for you.

  12. Samantha says:

    I’ve been trying to go raw too- I don’t know what percentage (I’m trying to just let it happen fluidly) but I’m probably at least 70% consistently. Luckily for me I was always a really terrible cook, so I never got accustomed to elaborate, delicious cooked meals (emphasis on the delicious in my case! lol) so what’s been helping me is to take a cooked meal I enjoy and find a recipe for doing it raw. For example, I used to LOVE LOVE LOVE pasta like nobody’s business, (I was a ‘pastatarian’!) but I replaced it with spiralized raw zucchini and now I don’t have any cravings for pasta because the raw zucchini version is so much better. You can use caulifower as a substitute for cous cous in a “cous cous” salad or instead of popcorn. If you’re not into the smoothies right away, you can try juicing. Smoothies and juices aren’t totally interchangeable, but a glass of green juice can be filling, especially if you add things like powdered spirulina or chlorella, and some people (myself included) prefer it to constantly eating salads or bowls of raw veggies. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE salads and plain veggies, but if that’s ALL I did day after day I would eventually get bored. Try going to a raw food restaurant (if you can) to sample different creative meals and see if they’ll give you recipes for them. (There’s also a lot of simple recipe books out there.) You can try working techniques like that into your diet to see if the raw food diet is something you’re really interested in, because like Kevin was saying, if you go into it with a very narrow view of what’s doable and not doable you’re not in the right mindset. You’d be surprised how your thinking shifts when you eat healthy and allow things to just be-that’s the most important part, whatever diet you end up following.

  13. Just to show how much fun and how easy it can be at any age, to switch to a more & more raw, and therefore much more vitamin- and nutrient-rich diet, please, visit our website: Youthevity.com!
    You can find smoothies, mueslis, colour eating games, funny rhymes….the lot! Our simple philosophy is:
    Raw food for healthy entertainment- for life…
    And it’s all based on sound medical evidence:
    In fact,it’s the only win-win game against Obesity!
    You can also read excerpts from our ‘Y Diet’
    ‘Don’t- Cook’- Book , aptly named
    ‘Colour Eating without Heating’,
    download it as an e -book, or order it, in paper, all the way from sunny Australia!

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